Salt the Earth
01. Destroy the City
03. Perception Fails
04. The Furthest Thing
05. Years & Darkness
06. Pushing Forward
09. To Return
13. Pushing Forward (Acoustic)
By now, everyone reading this should have heard of Carthage, listened to the songs they’ve released and seen the hype surrounding guitarist Noyan’s nine string guitar build with Etherial guitars. However, if you haven’t heard of the band, here is the run down. Carthage is a six piece progressive deathcore band based from Baltimore, Maryland, founded by Tre Watson, a phenomenal bedroom metalist who brought the world amazing works of musicianship such as the 2010 full-length, Lexicon of the Human Subconscious, and last year’s excellent Gravestones EP. Tre has built a strong following over the internet, and Carthage has provided an outlet for him and several bandmates to expand the portfolio of sound found in the deathcore genre, and they have slowly built a strong reputation as well as a fair amount of hype for their debut full-length, Salt the Earth. With that being said, will the album live up to the expectations of the band’s fan-base?
Well, fear not, because Salt The Earth isn’t just fantastic, it’s one of the best releases this year, as well as one of the most varied and consistently interesting releases. Carthage gets labeled as deathcore in a lot of press, but that’s perhaps a hasty label, because while the Carthage EP was definitely deathcore, Salt the Earth isn’t just that, but instead it’s something much, much more. With the aid of new guitarist Noyan Tokgozoglu, the band has started to brings some tech-death and melodeath influences to the creative process. There’s so much going on here, but incredibly, it’s never overwhelming. Instead, it’s always compelling and every disparate element is woven together in service to the song. This is the antithesis of the soulless, copy and paste riffs so prevalent nowadays, and it’s refreshing to listen to.
Another high point is vocalist Eric Hendricks’s lyrics, which are heartfelt, meaningful, and honest. He speaks from the heart, and it comes across beautifully. Complimenting Eric’s lead vocals are backing vocals from Noyan and Tre Watson, which serve to give the lyrics several different voices to compliment the music. Every part of the music, from the vocals to the bass, drums and guitars, are anchored by Tre’s fantastic mixing and mastering. This is a sonically as well as musically powerful record, and the clear, punchy production allows every part of the music to shine through.
On the topic of the music, it spans a diverse collection of genres and styles, such as mid to late 90’s melodic death metal, European death metal like Behemoth and Decapitated, and early 90’s metalcore, all woven together by a prog/death metal core. It’s clear the elements on display here are the product of each member’s musical tastes and background, and it shines through in the music they make like few bands I know. There’s an absolutely insane amount of things going on here, but it’s all executed so well and so tastefully that you can either follow every last musical detail, or simply sit back and enjoy the album. The attention you want to devote is entirely up to you, and few demands are made, making this a record to listen in any possibly situation or circumstance, which just adds to the already heaping amounts of replay value.
This is an album that should appeal to nearly every demographic, given half a chance to listen to it, owing to the diversity of the genres on display here. Maybe metal fans who absolutely despise anything with a –core element will dislike this, as there is most definitely a good bit of that left over from the EP, but for everyone with an open mind and an ear for immense talent will enjoy this. People expecting it to be heavy on the nine string chugging, however, may come away disappointed. Again, this is the sound of the band evolving from their deathcore roots and becoming something truly innovative. It’s simply one of the finest albums this year, and perhaps the best to come out of the Baltimore scene in recent memory. Buy it, savor it, and support these truly amazing musicians.
Carthage – Salt the Earth gets…